Evolving technologies - Challenges and opportunities from an operational health perspective


  • Annica Waleij
  • Niklas Brännström
  • Lukas Liljedahl
  • Zacharias Tjäder
  • Torbjörn Tjärnhage
  • Per Wikström

Publish date: 2016-05-20

Report number: FOI-R--4256--SE

Pages: 29

Written in: English


  • Technologies
  • additive manufacturing
  • 3D-printing
  • unmanned aerial vehicles
  • UAV
  • drones
  • CBRN
  • international operations
  • health hazards
  • and health threats


Evolving technologies may provide new opportunities to manage health risks during field operations. This holds true for both military and civilian operations, and several tools such as unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) and additive manufacturing (AM, or 3D-printers) are already operationalized for various purposes. At the same time, new hazards with potential health implications may rise from the rapidly developing "new normal" of technologies. An initial quick scanning of some evolving technologies was performed and a fictive mission scenario created, to subsequently, in a follow up phase apply these technologies to. The findings so far suggests that new health hazards indeed may arise, and new health management procedures therefore may be required. Hence, it might be valuable to make a deeper evaluation with focus on of potential health hazards and opportunities from evolving technologies. Some areas that may warrant further study, include ? Access to blue print drawings of spare parts via internet to be 3D-printed in remote areas - to reduce hazardous pollution during missions ? Individualized 3D-scanning of human physical properties - to reduce equipment related injuries and musculoskeletal disorders. ? Potential use of mini-drones for reconnaissance and surveillance purposes or for medical support in remote areas ? CBRN detection systems for early warning and identification of potential intrusion via drones It is suggested, that a joint seminar, with FOI, the Swedish Armed Forces medical expertise, CBRN stakeholders and the Swedish Defence Material Administration (FMV), is conducted to highlight potential way ahead regarding this matter. The fictive scenario described in this report might provide input for discussions.